How to Travel Easily When You Have Sleep Apnea

Fact-Checked

Thinking about toting your CPAP machine with you when you hit the road? These five tips will help make it easy.

Living with sleep apnea often includes using a CPAP machine, which helps keep airways open throughout the night. While the CPAP can dramatically improve your symptoms, it can also make traveling a bit of a headache. That said, don’t be tempted to leave the machine at home—you'll risk feeling tired on your trip. It’s actually easier than you might think to bring it with you—just follow this guide.

  1. Carry on your CPAP. The machine is a medical device, which means that you can carry it on in addition to the normal number of bags that you can take on a plane . To make sure you have no issues, get a letter from your doctor explaining that the device is medically necessary . Make sure to check your airline’s policy as well. When you go through security, you’ll need to put the machine in one of the plastic bins. It’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag to put it in so everything stays sanitized.
  2. Look into portable CPAP machines. Are you a frequent flier? Get a mini version of your normal machine. The main difference is that the travel-sized CPAPs don’t have humidifiers , so test it out at home before you hit the road. Some of these are even battery-operated—just call your airline ahead of time to make sure that it's okay to put extra batteries in your carry-on and tell the TSA agent during the security check what it is because you might need to put it in its own bin.
  3. Don’t forget an extension cord. You never know where a plug is going to be in a new place, so make sure you aren’t stuck being unable to plug in your machine. Many hotels have extension cords available if you ask, but it’s better to be safe.
  4. Going overseas? Remember the adapter. CPAP machines usually have to be plugged in, so if you’re going to another country, you’ll need an adapter for the outlet.
  5. Consider toting along your own pillow. While it may seem like the deep, fluffy pillows in hotels are great for sleeping, they can be less-than-ideal for those with sleep apnea. If you have a supportive pillow at home that you love and have room for it in your bag, bring it with you.

Related Reading:

  • The Most Sleep-Friendly Airlines

    Get ready for takeoff—and truly restful shut-eye—on these carriers. Hopping on a plane can bring excitement and joy—that is, unless you’re trying to get some sleep crunched into a tiny…

  • Tips for Traveling With a Baby

    Planning to bring your baby on your next trip? Get your little one to sleep through travel with these tips.

  • What Causes Jet Lag?

    Jet lag occurs when a person's internal clock conflicts with environmental cues like the sun rising or setting. This condition usually affects people who travel across many time zones. Most people who experience jet lag feel excessively fatigued or sleepy in a new time zone.